ADHD and School During a Pandemic
Simple Solutions for Living Through a Pandemic
Diagnosis and Treatment of Children and Teens
Your Emerging Adult
The information provided by CHADD’s National Resource Center on ADHD is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number NU38DD005376 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- Back to School: COVID-19 Transition
Parents can help their children ease back to in-person learning by making sure they receive the right in-school accommodations as well as educational supports at home.
- Masks & Vaccines: Tools to Continue In-School Education
Help your child manage their fears about receiving vaccinations and select the right masks for them to use in school.
- School and Home Communication Plan
Suggestions are offered on what to communicate to your child’s teacher and school to make sure your child receives the special education services and accommodations for a successful school year.
- Tips for Creating a Morning Routine
Tips include creating lists, thinking ahead, preparing the night before for school and events or activities, and posting a photo of what “ready” looks like.
- School Anxiety in Children with ADHD: Signs and Strategies to Help
Here are some signs of anxiety in school-age children and the strategies that could help them cope.
- Ask the Expert: When Classes Resume—How to Help
Dr. Richard Gallagher talks about how educators can help children with ADHD reduce their anxiety and other related challenges in the new school year. (53 mins. 39 secs.)
- Ask the Expert: Online Learning: Teaching Students How to Work from Home
Educational therapist Ezra Werb shares his experiences and strategies to help students gain independence with online academics. (50 mins. 58 secs.)
- Ask the Expert: IEPs, 504 Plans, and the New Educational Landscape
Dr. Richard Weinfeld discusses how educators can best support students with ADHD in the classroom and create a meaningful recovery plan to address the progress that students lost during the pandemic. (48 mins. 11 secs.)
- Podcast: Online Learning for Children with ADHD
School principal Laci Culbreth provides strategies for parents to help their children with at-home learning and strategies for teachers to help students and parents through remote learning.
- New Education Guidelines in Response to COVID-19 Disruptions
The US Department of Education’s “Return to School Roadmap” offers guidance to parents and educators on developing and implementing individualized education programs (IEPs). (ADHD Weekly, October 21, 2021)
- Cohen, Matt. Coping with and Recovering from the Pandemic: Key School Issues for Kids with ADHD
Strategies to help children with learning remotely, easing the transition back to in-person learning, and receiving extra help (compensatory education). (Attention, August 2021)
- Legg, Mallory. Compensatory and Recovery Services for Students with ADHD
Students who fell behind due to the pandemic disruptions may be eligible for compensatory or recovery services to make up for the services they missed. (Attention, April 2022)
- Resnik, Rebecca. Fearless Advocacy: Pro Tips for School Team Meetings
Tools parents can use for school team meetings to prevent being caught off guard, getting emotional, and having your child negatively labeled. (Attention, August 2021)
- Heller, Carey A. Tracking Homework Assignments
Five strategies and tools to help your student keep track of their homework assignments, including creating realistic plans, mastering basic principles of planning, setting up an ideal workspace, and using notification systems. (Attention, August 2021)
- Van Boening, Ashlee. Teaching in a Pandemic: Upheavals, Adjustments, and Moving Forward
A teacher shares her stories, takeaways, and tips for parents and other teachers, including distance education tips. (Attention, December 2020)
- Gedzelman, Cheryl. Keep Up Academic Skills During This Challenging Time
One new and several seasoned homeschooling families talk about their strategies for academic success when schooling at home. (Attention, June 2020)
- Witzel, Bradley. Executive Functioning Disorder and Mathematics
The math learning process does not need to stop when students struggle; instead, they need more effective strategies. (Attention, October 2020)
- Know What to Expect at Your Child’s K-12 School or Early Care and Education Program
Guidance from the CDC on how to keep students and school staff safe when returning to in-person learning.
- School changes - helping children with ADHD
Resources are available for parents to help their children navigate the changes in the way they attend school as a result of the pandemic.
- Tools for Supporting Emotional Wellbeing in Children and Youth
These short videos teach skills based on cognitive-behavioral therapy to help children cope with the stressful situations they may face during the pandemic.
- Tackling Unhelpful Thoughts
This video provides tips for coping with unhelpful thoughts—identifying and challenging them, then replacing them with more helpful thoughts.
- ADHD and School: A Toolkit for Parents
Resources include customizable charts; a sample letter requesting special education services; an information card for teachers on ADHD; information on the rights of students with ADHD from the US Office for Civil Rights; and how to create routines, set up a homework station, and structure home-school communication.
Managing mental & physical health
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Managing Anxiety
Dr. Craig Surman discusses the importance of identifying anxiety through physical clues and evaluating your mindset. He talks about the importance of taking care of yourself physically and mentally especially if you have ADHD. (29 mins. 20 secs.)
- Ask the Expert: Helping Children with ADHD/LD Conquer Chronic Stress
In this webinar, Dr. Jerome Schultz, a clinical neuropsychologist and expert on ADHD and learning disorders, discusses the impact of chronic stress on children who have ADHD and/or learning disorders, and the steps in the DE-STRESS Model that can help them. He answers questions from parents after the presentation. (1 hr. 30 mins.)
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Ways to Stay Healthy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Dr. Roberto Olivardia discusses how to develop better sleep and eating habits by listening to your body’s cues and taking advantage of the increased time at home. (47 mins. 9 secs.)
Parenting & family relationships
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Tips to Help You Manage and Avoid Family Conflicts
Families coping with ADHD may experience conflicts due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Parents need to manage their own stress levels to avoid or decrease the conflicts among their children, especially if there are teens at home. Dr. Margaret Sibley, PhD, offers strategies and tips for parents to help manage and avoid potential conflicts. (15 mins.)
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Tips for Creating an ADHD-Friendly Home Environment
Dr. Margaret Sibley offers advice for parents on how to create an ADHD-friendly home environment. She discusses ways to minimize distractions, keep children motivated and engaged, and how to deal with behavior problems. (14 mins. 52 secs.)
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Parenting Children With ADHD During a Crisis
Dr. Andrea Chronis Tuscado discusses things parents can do to help maintain a calm home environment and how best to keep routines for our children. She also talks about signs parents can look for if they think their child may have ADHD or co-occurring condition. (19 mins. 15 secs.)
- Podcast: Guidance for Uncertain Times: Navigating Relationship Challenges
During these times of uncertainty, underlying tension and miscommunication amongst family members leads to more conflict and stress. Coping with uncertainty because of the coronavirus is something that families are doing now, but life in general is full of uncertainties. Dr. Ari Tuckman shares how couples and family members can maintain good relationships during this challenging time. (24 mins. 29 secs.)
Learning from home
- Ask the Expert: Online Learning: Teaching Students How to Work from Home (Ezra Werb, 2020)
In this webinar, educational therapist Ezra Werb, M.Ed., explains how executive function challenges make online learning difficult and provides strategies, including digital organization, time management, and options/supports for completing reading and writing assignments, to help students take steps towards independence. (50 mins. 58 secs.)
- Podcast: Online Learning for Children with ADHD
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have transitioned to remote learning or hybrid learning. Laci Culbret, MEd, discusses the difficulties of ADHD symptoms while learning from home and talks about her experience as a teacher. She provides suggestions for parents on how to help their children with ADHD at home. She also discusses strategies teachers can use to increase support for students with ADHD through remote learning. (29 mins. 53 secs.)
- Podcast: What Are My Child’s 504 and IEP Rights for Distance Learning?
Due to the impact of COVID-19, many schools are having to change from face-to-face teaching to remote learning or even a hybrid environment. For students with ADHD who required classroom accommodations, whether through a 504 plan or an IEP, will the same guidelines apply in each learning situation? Dr. Jeffrey Katz gives parents insight into the child’s rights to educational accommodations for the 2020-2021 school year. (17 mins. 14 secs.)
Treatment of ADHD
- New Options for ADHD Treatment During COVID-19
This article discusses the relaxing of telehealth restrictions, what it means for individuals with ADHD, and items you may need at home for a successful telehealth visit. (ADHD Weekly, April 16, 2020)
- Staying In Touch With Video Chat
Staying in touch with family and friends is critical for our well-being especially for those with ADHD. This article talks about creative ways to stay socially connected through video chat. (ADHD Weekly, April 2, 2020)
- Keeping Extra ADHD Medication On Hand
During the pandemic it may be necessary to have an emergency supply of ADHD medication due to store closures, delayed shipping, or doctor unavailability. This article suggests ways to ensure you have enough medication. (ADHD Weekly, April 2, 2020)
Working & learning from home
- How Do You Work from Home and Help Kids Navigate Remote Learning?
Working from home while helping your child learn remotely has increased parent and caregiver stress immensely. Dr. Carey Heller provides guidance on ways to stay focused, reduce distractions, and how to make the best out of a complex and challenging situation. (Attention, June 2020)
- A Week in the Pandemic Life of Complex Families
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, CPCC, identifies common struggles she sees in her work with complex families. She offers strategies and tips for parents to help them handle challenges that are amplified due to the pandemic. (Attention, June 2020)
Managing mental & physical health
- You Can Manage ADHD and Anxiety During This Public Health Crisis
Many individuals with ADHD and anxiety are experiencing increased symptoms during the pandemic. This article talks about the importance of schedules and routines and other ways to manage increased symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. (ADHD Weekly, April 2, 2020)
- After It’s Over: The Pandemic’s Secondary Effects on Mental Health
Dr. Daniel Shapiro asks readers to consider the aftereffects of the pandemic on our mental health. He gives suggestions on things to do to prepare kids to confront challenges and build resiliency for when life gets back to normal. (Attention, June 2020)
- ADHD, Self-Harm, and Suicide
This article addresses the link between ADHD, self-harm and suicide in youth. Risk factors and warning signs are identified as well as what to do if someone you know is suicidal. (Attention, Summer 2017)
- Exercise for Adults with ADHD in Quarantine
Physical therapist, Ruth Mulvany discusses the benefits of exercise on executive function. She identifies the three types of exercise and suggests creative ways to exercise at home. (Attention, June 2020)
- Including Exercise with Behavioral Interventions Can Increase Benefits
This article talks about the latest research on exercise combined with behavioral interventions to relieve some ADHD symptoms in children. (ADHD Weekly, February 20, 2020)
- Better Self-Care in the Age of COVID
Individuals with ADHD already feel stressed due to their ADHD symptoms. Dr. Sharon Saline suggests ways to cultivate inner calm during times of increased stress which she says is critical for those with ADHD.
- Telehealth for Teens and Young Adults with ADHD
There are many things to consider should your child need professional treatment. Dr. Carey Heller discusses common questions about finding a provider, the cost of treatment, and how to overcome your child’s resistance to seeking help.
- Staying Home or House Arrest? Quarantine and Teens
Dr. Ari Tuckman offers supportive advice on dealing with your teenager during the pandemic. During this period of increased time at home, parents can help their child develop life skills including being able to deal with uncertainty.
- Steadying Our Communal Raft During Uncertain Times
Dr. Mark Bertin asks readers to consider their place in the communal raft during the pandemic. Being mindful of our intentions can help us examine whether we are contributing to problems or helping.
- More Time Together Can Be a Mixed Blessing
Spending increased time with your partner or spouse can both be rewarding and stressful especially if one of you has ADHD. Making the most of the situation by learning to manage your stress can help you enjoy time together as well as apart.
- Resilience and Routines for Families During the Pandemic
A key to dealing with uncertainty in our changing times is to build resilience. Dr. Mark Bertin suggests ways to build resilience while helping your family stay calm and grounded.
- Balancing Your Job and Your Child’s Educational Needs
How can you keep your sanity while working from home and your children are learning remotely? Dr. Carey Heller offers advice on how to keep everyone in your family on track while working and learning from home.
- When Children with ADHD Attend School from Home: An Expert’s Tips
Dr. Margaret Sibley shares tips for parents of children with ADHD who are learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. She identifies motivational challenges for kids with ADHD that get in the way of learning remotely.
- Suddenly Working From Home?
Suddenly working from home can be a challenge. CHADD staff provide tips to help you stay productive and on tract when doing work from home.
- How Right Now
This online tool helps to address your feelings during this pandemic--whether it is fear, anger, grief, loneliness, sadness, stress, worries or other emotions. A variety of resources, including articles, fact sheets, a helpline or hotline, and online courses or guides, are provided to help you manage these emotions.
- Online Course: Diagnosing ADHD: Information for Parents
- Podcast: What Should Parents Look for in a Good Evaluation for ADHD?
- Ask The Expert: Recognizing challenging behaviors in young children: Could it be ADHD?
- Podcast: The ABCs of Medications
- Video: The Psychology of Medication
- Updated Diagnosis and Treatment Recommendations for Childhood ADHD
- New Guidelines for ADHD and Complex ADHD
- Conflicting Diagnosis? Take the Time to Get It Right
- Does Age Affect an ADHD Evaluation?
- Your Child was Just Diagnosed with ADHD - Now What?
- The Medication Diary: A Useful Tool for Monitoring ADHD Treatment
- Behavioral Treatments First: Preschoolers and ADHD
- When Medication Costs Too Much: Prescription Assistance
- 19 Tips for Finding Low-Cost ADHD Treatment
- Video: Young ADDulthood: Preparing Older Teens for the Road Ahead
As they approach adulthood, teens may be optimistic, terrified, or lost. Psychologist and author Wes Crenshaw, PhD, discusses hope, resiliency, and the calculated risks of beginning adult life in this webinar. (1 hr. 8 mins.)
- Video: Is My High School Student Ready for College? (And Is My College Student Ready to Go Back?)
In this webinar, Psychologist Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, helps webinar attendees to be able to identify the skills necessary for student success on a college campus, assess their high school student's or young adult's readiness to go to or return to college, and list options if the high school student or young adult is not ready for college right now. (28 mins.)
- Podcast: Q&A: Is my High School Student Ready for College?
Dr. Tuckman answers questions from parents about helping their older teens make their own decisions and develop goals, become motivated to improve their grades, select a college and support services, handle college failures, and consider alternatives. (28 mins.)
- Video: Helping Your Young Adult Become Independent
In this webinar, Stephanie Sarkis, PhD, and Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, present on the issues faced during transition to adulthood and how parents can help their emerging adults move towards independence. (8 mins.)
- Podcast: Q&A: Helping Your Young Adult Become Independent
Drs. Sarkis and Tuckman answer questions from parents about the college experience, college accommodations, whether new ADHD diagnosis is required for older children, and the amount of support parents should provide their college-age children. (58 mins.)
- Video: Teens & Parents: Understanding Strategies to Reduce Conflict
In this webinar for parents of teens with ADHD, Ronna Breaux, PhD, provides an understanding of some reasons why family conflict is often common during adolescence, and particularly among families of teens with ADHD. Strategies to help reduce teen emotion dysregulation and family conflict are also provided.
- Video: What You Need to Know About Substance Use, Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion
Learn from this video about the risk factors for substance use disorder in people with ADHD, the proactive approaches to manage the risk, ADHD management and medication concerns, and resiliency skills to help avoid risky behaviors, including medication diversion. (25 mins.)
Planning for Life Beyond High School with ADHD
Begin planning during middle school for your child’s transition to life beyond high school by knowing their interests and aptitude. Be aware of available options for them, including college, vocational training or employment, or taking a gap year break. (ADHD Weekly, February 7, 2019)
Nurturing Communication With Your Young Adult
As young adults establish their identities, further their education and careers, and form new relationships, parents must learn new ways to communicate to establish healthy, lifelong relationships with their adult children. (ADHD Weekly, July 12, 2018)
Young ADDulthood: Preparing Late Teens for the Road Ahead
Psychologist Wes Crenshaw, PhD, categorizes the many young adults he has worked with as either overly optimistic, terrified, or lost. He provides hope for their parents using a practical tool with two components, Willpower and Waypower. (Attention, August 2016)
Understanding and Supporting Your Emerging Adult
Psychologist Michael Reiter, PhD, helps parents understand the impact of struggling with ADHD, anxiety, depression and other challenges for emerging young adults. (Attention, April 2018)
Successfully Launching Your Teen or Young Adult with ADHD into the World
Developmental Pediatrician Patricia O. Quinn, MD, advises parents to empower their teens to progress towards independence, rather than enabling them to stay overly dependent on their parents. (Attention, June 2013)
Teaching Resiliency Skills for Teens and Young Adults
Parents can help their teens and young adults become resilient by using positive parenting skills, encouraging their transitioning youth to take more responsibility for themselves, and providing them with guidance and support. (ADHD Weekly, October 26, 2017)
Career Choices and ADHD: Helping Teens and Young Adults Find their Path
Author and educator, Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, MS, informs parents about the importance of identifying the skills and interests of their transitioning youth using vocational testing, career programs, personality testing, and special courses. (Attention, April 2011)
Failure to Launch: Addressing the Needs of Transition-Age Young Adults
Aaron Jennings, LCSW, helps parents understand the struggles that cause a “failure to launch” for their youth adults, and how to address their needs. (Attention, Spring 2017)
Time Out: What You Need to Know About the Gap Year Experience
Jeremy Neidens, director of Soar’s Eagle View Ranch, discusses what a gap year is, who takes them, and how individuals with ADHD can benefit from their experiences on a gap year. (Attention, April 2014)
Is College Right for You?
College may not be the right choice for everyone suggests Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA who explains the importance of careful self-assessment and consideration of alternatives to college like the military, employment, or a gap year. Tuckman cautions parents of youth with ADHD to evaluate their child’s intellectual and emotional maturity as prerequisites for college. (Attention, October 2010)
Selecting and Applying to Colleges for Students with ADHD
Deciding whether or not to attend college, take a gap year, attend technical school, or a community college should be carefully considered. There are many things to evaluate when selecting and applying to colleges including what accommodations and services the school offers, whether or not to disclose that you have ADHD, and ways to request SAT/ACT testing accommodations. (NRC Fact Sheet, 2018)
What to Know Before You Head Off to College
Juli Shulem offers a side by side comparison of the differences between high school and college, tips on what to bring, how to set up a routine, and effective study practices as well as a timeline for requesting accommodations to ensure academic success. (Attention, June 2019)
Preparing for College: The Top Three Things to Consider
Knowing yourself is the key to success in preparing for college. Understanding your interests, what motivates you, and areas you need assistance in are keys to easing the transition from high school. Colleges offer many services to help students do their best, but students must be their own advocate. (Attention, April 2018)
What Students with ADHD and Their Parents Should Know About College
Elizabeth Hamblet outlines the steps high schoolers should take to ensure a successful transition to college including researching prerequisites, making a list of the most necessary accommodations they hope to receive, as well as building strategies to overcome deficits that they likely won’t receive assistance for on a college campus. Foremost students should build their self-advocacy skills to ask for the accommodations they need once they get to college. (Attention, December 2013)
Is There a “Right Fit” College for My Student with ADHD?
Unlike high schools, colleges are not required to provide specific accommodations, they must only provide access to students with disabilities. Sue Cook Christakos, JD defines four levels of support that colleges can provide. She recommends knowing the level of support a college age student needs and researching colleges to determine what level of support they offer. (Attention, October 2019)
Steps to Take Before Sending Your Student to College
Katherine McGavern recommends that parents compare the level of support their student receives in high school to what colleges can provide. She suggests that parents do their homework to know the procedures in place at the college their student plans to attend as well as what accommodations and services are offered to help students with disabilities succeed. (Attention, Winter 2017-18)
Coaching and Youth with ADHD
Coaching for ADHD can help individuals manage time more effectively, learn self-advocacy skills, increase organizational and social skills. ADHD coaches can help an individual think through step by step processes and pose questions to help the individual consider how they might get a project done or speak with a professor. Eventually, says Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, the individual will incorporate the coach’s questioning into their own skillset to become self-sufficient and successful as adults. (Attention, October 2010)
Trades / Career
Training in the Trades
All too often teens are programmed into thinking that the next route after high school is a four-year college. Jennifer Phillips and Julia Frost point out that trades are a less costly and shorter route to a career and that hands-on tasks that trades offer can be especially rewarding for those with ADHD. (Attention, October 2018)
Other Avenues: When Traditional College Is Not the Answer
Finding the best continued learning option for your child after high school depends on their interests and abilities, says Arlyn Roffman, PhD. She recommends that teens, as part of the IEP process, create a transition planning portfolio to help them consider different avenues of education or employment after high school. Roffman also explores the multitude of options besides a four-year degree including transitional programs for those with significant disabilities which help youth prepare for independent living. (Attention, August 2011)
Is College the Only Path to Success?
Many alternatives to college exist including a gap year, vocational or technical school, and even internships at a business incubator like InventiveLabs. Finding what one is truly passionate about will help steer their route towards college alternatives and vocations that best match their interests and strengths. (Attention, June 2016)
Finding Your Best Career Path with ADHD…and Dr. Seuss
Wilma Fellman, MEd, LPC discusses finding your “kernel of truth” by figuring out what you are passionate about and assembling the pieces of your puzzle in order to find your place in the work world. Using Dr. Seuss-isms, she recommends consulting a career coach or counselor who is knowledgeable about ADHD to help in discovering your career path. (Attention, December 2013)
Treating ADHD and Cannabis Use Disorder [interview with Kevin M. Gray, MD]
Kevin M. Gray, MD explains the connection between ADHD and cannabis use disorder. Research indicates that ADHD and cannabis use are linked genetically and behaviorally, says Gray, and therefore it is necessary to address both conditions for a more successful outcome. (Attention, August 2019)
Drug Abuse in Youth with ADHD - A chat with Brooke Molina, PhD
Brooke Molina, PhD discusses the link between ADHD, drug use and addiction. She also offers practical advice for caregivers on how to keep the lines of communication open with children and teens to reduce the risk of substance use and how to seek treatment for youth with ADHD who have substance abuse problems. (Attention, October 2012)
- The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences, 14th Edition: 338 Schools with Programs or Services for Students with ADHD, ASD, or Learning Differences (College Admissions Guides) (2019)
- Smart but Scattered--and Stalled: 10 Steps to Help Young Adults Use Their Executive Skills to Set Goals, Make a Plan, and Successfully Leave the Nest (2019)
- From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students With Disabilities (2017)